PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wants sanctions against the crewmen of the Chinese trawler that hit a Filipino fishing vessel in Recto Bank on June 9 despite the apology given by the Chinese boat captain.
Duterte made this assertion during his bilateral meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday night.
“I reiterate our desire for the filing or application of appropriate sanctions against the Chinese crew in the interest of achieving closure, manifesting good faith and demonstrating China’s resort to prevent a repeat of the incident,” Duterte said in his statement, which was read to the media by presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo yesterday.
Duterte also took note of China’s statement that it has recognized and confirmed the responsibility of the Chinese fishing crew.
He also expressed appreciation for China’s readiness to provide compensation to the Filipino fishermen.
“This is a step in the right direction,” the President said.
The bilateral meeting came a day after the owner of the Chinese boat apologized for hitting the Filipino fishing vessel and leaving the foundering boat’s 22 crew members to the mercy of the sea for hours until a passing Vietnamese vessel rescued them.
The apology was contained in a letter that was coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“We believe that, although this accident was an unintentional mistake of the Chinese fishermen, the Chinese fishing boat should, however, take the major responsibility in the accident,” read an excerpt of the English translation of the letter signed by Chen Shiqin, president of the Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association, which counts the boat owner as member.